Northumbrian Water has streamlined access to benefits with a single sign-in portal, making data security a key issue for the organisation.
The water organisation has 3,100 employees spread across the north east of England (where it trades as Northumbrian Water) and Essex and Suffolk (where it trades as Essex and Suffolk Water), many of whom work out in the field.
In 2016, the organisation moved to a one-stop-shop online benefits portal, provided by Zest Benefits. Neil Robson, benefits, contracts and payroll manager at Northumbrian Water Group, says: “The site is single sign-in, so [employees] don’t have to remember multiple log-in or password details. Once they’re in it, they are then directed to different sites also using single sign-on, for example, for the pension or our car scheme.
“The majority of employees will have access to a laptop, iPad or smartphone, typically an iPhone. However, if employees in the field have issues we encourage them to access the portal through the corporate network, often simply by signing on when they’re at one of the offices.”
In February and March this year, the organisation also held a benefits roadshow at each of its sites. “This proved really valuable, because it allowed people to see with their own eyes what was being offered. The feedback was really positive,” adds Robson.
How employees’ data is stored and used is a key issue for the organisation. “We’re very strict in terms of how we collect and use data, and especially how we share it with partners,” explains Robson. “This is something we’ve been looking at closely during the run-up to GDPR. But how we use the data we’re now gathering to personalise and target benefits better is something we’re going to be looking at closely with Zest, especially as we’ll be rolling on to a new version of the platform later this year.
“How data is used is likely to become increasingly important. It is all about making benefits easier to manage and administer, both for staff and my small team, and making the communication and delivery of benefits more meaningful.”